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Set Your Sails Against The Storm

by Jeremy on March 16, 2013

sailboat stormDecember 26th 1998 was a day like any other before it. It was the day the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was set to begin, the same day every year for the last 54 years. Yachting is a dangerous sport and with high winds and rough seas the reality of loss is more than just a mark in a book. Many very expensive yachts and priceless lives of men and women have been lost to the sea in yacht racing.

The SHYR is a 630NM race in the stormy rough seas south of Australia. The 54th annual race would prove to be the most dangerous and disastrous race in modern history. The fleet encountered a storm so severe it created 70 knot winds (equivalent to a small hurricane) and produced SUMMER snow (don’t forget in Australia, December is summer time). The storm produced a water spout that sank one ship and killed 6 sailors. Of the 115 ships that started the race only 44 finished the race, 66 yachts gave up and fled the storm 55 sailors had to abandon ship and be rescued by helicopter.

In the aftermath of the storm many people criticized the race promoters and as usual the actions of all the crews were carefully examined and analyzed. One observation stood out among many, and caught my attention:

The damage done in the Hobart race to modern and old designs alike seem to be from waves striking the boats beam on. Yachts sailing forward under a storm jib could steer around breaking waves, soon as they dropped all sail they seemed to be in trouble.

I am not a sailor so I don’t have first hand experience, but it is my understanding that there are two schools of thought when it comes to sailing in a storm. One is to drop all sails, and let out special sea anchors or drogues and try to ride out the storm, and the other is to use special sails designed for storms called storm jibs and keep moving managing the waves and using the weather to pass through the storm. The opinion above means that in that race, the sailors who kept moving survived the best where those who dropped sail suffered damages and their crews had to abandon their ships.

What happens when storms come up in life?

When we are traversing the sea of life, what happens when the winds get rough and the seas get choppy? How do we sail the rough seas of life? Karen made a comment one afternoon while we were on a road trip that while things around us seem to be out of control she was glad that, with God at the center, inside our family everything was secure.

While she made that statement this song was playing. Take a second and watch this video and listen to the lyrics and then I will get to my point.

The Sea Of Grace

So much of life is about attitude and perception. When we are in Christ we no longer sail on a sea of uncertainty, a dark bleak emptiness, but we are sailing on a Sea of Grace and we don’t have to fear the wind and waves. In fact it is the wind that fills our sails, it is the current that propels us. When we feel tempted to drop sail in the storms and just ride it out God is calling us to harness the wind and let it drive us. The Bible often likens the Holy Spirit to a wind and in this case sometimes the strong winds we feel are there for a reason, to move us forward. When we fear the storm and drop sail, we may be missing an opportunity to get through, or worse yet we may be doing damage to our ship!

If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill

We see so much falling down around us, and we are often tempted to just suffer through, but what if God intends us not to suffer through, but to BLAST through, to ride through on His Grace and under the power of His Holy Spirit.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

Psalm 91:5-8

Making Waves

Like the song said “Just Set Your Sail, And Risk the Ocean, There’s Only Grace”. We don’t have to fear the storm, the wind and the waves, but we can be blessed in the storm and with God at our center we can pass through the storm. Don’t fear the waves, because as the ship moves it creates waves. The turmoil that surrounds us often times is the result of our movement.

We have to learn to understand that as we move through the water we produce a wake, or waves. As the ship travels through the waters it stirs them and moves them, and that is what is supposed to happen. When we move, things happen around us, things change, waves are created that spread out and touch others.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michal Koblasa June 8, 2015 at 10:51 am

Hey beloved,
thank you for your sailing parable. It is really helpful.
Be blessed,


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